Ala.'s online checkbook reaches 1st anniversary - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Ala.'s online checkbook reaches 1st anniversary

MONTGOMERY, AL - A website devoted to showing Alabamians where their tax money is being spent has been up and running for a year. The governor's office is releasing numbers on how many people are looking at the site.

The website has recorded more than 117,000 visits, an average of about 9,800 per month according to the Riley administration. 

The website, www.open.alabama.gov, is the state's web portal for transparency and accountability in state government. 

"With this website, we've completely opened the books so everyone can know where the money goes and to whom it goes," said Governor Riley.  "It makes state government more accountable and transparent than it has ever been. The fact that so many are going online to find this information shows Alabamians are demanding greater accountability in their government."

The website started when Governor Riley signed Executive Order 46 on February 11, 2009 to create a publicly accessible website that detailed spending done by state government.  The website went online February 27, 2009 – two days ahead of the deadline the Governor imposed in his Executive Order.

The Legislature later passed a bill sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Mike Ball that essentially wrote Governor Riley's Executive Order into law. The Governor signed that bill into law with Senator Orr and Representative Ball at his side during a signing ceremony in May 2009 in Decatur.

The site lists a wide range of information including all active statewide contracts and awarded bids, a database of all leases held by state departments, links to notices filed under the Alabama Open Meetings Act, a list of all registered lobbyists and campaign finance reports and spending by state agencies.

The website created some controversy when it was learned every state employee's payroll check would be listed, giving anyone who was curious a chance to see what any state employee makes.

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